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Flying Scotsman gives the lowdown on the bike he'll use for his tilt at the human-powered land speed record ...

Here’s a treat for you: a video of the great Graeme Obree explaining the design and building of the bike that he’ll be using for his attempt at the human-powered land speed record in September.

We’ve featured one video from the Humans Invent website before, where The Flying Scotsman explains the motivation for his attempt. This time around, he talks in more depth about how he arrived at his idea of riding head first, and the actual development of the bike.

The mainstream media’s perception the former world hour record holder and 4000m pursuit world champion, now 46, is that he’s an eccentric inventor who knocks up stuff from spare parts in his kitchen… and that’s about right. He comes across as someone with a hell of a passion for both the engineering and the riding.

Obree talks about the advantage of being both the engineer and the rider for his record attempt, in that he can adapt the design immediately to suit his requirements rather than having to go through a time-consuming back and forth to get it right.

He also explains how he’s ended up using that old saucepan – the best known part of his record attempt story – to produce the shoulder supports for his bike.

“I thought the perfect thing would be a piece of stainless steel which will be relatively light and accessible, and it will probably end up lighter [than a component made from other materials] because if you use aluminium you’ll have to bolt that onto the steel… and if you use glass fibre then you’ve got to use an awful lot of it so as it’s not going to give way at some point.

“I thought, ‘Hold on: sacrifice a saucepan.’ The whole job from that point – shaping and silver soldering – took about two hours. There was no going anywhere to search for glass fibre or getting an engineer to make that component for me. It was saucepan to shoulder support in two hours without leaving my kitchen.”

Anyway, we’re giving away the plot. Take a look for yourself.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

16 comments

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OldRidgeback [2616 posts] 4 years ago
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British ingenuity at its best, love the tartan touches.

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spindoctore [53 posts] 4 years ago
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hes mad !

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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Bit of a mad genius there I think. As much as I love my recumbent, I know I'd be faster facing forward and I'd love to have the skills to build something like that, not for speed, just for the pleasure of building and riding my one of bike.

Looks pretty cool though, once its all finished and given a touch of paint  4

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Mat Brett [620 posts] 4 years ago
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spindoctore wrote:

hes mad !

Maybe, but he's brilliant as well, isn't he? The world needs more people like this.

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wild man [297 posts] 4 years ago
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Hope he has something left to cook enough pasta to fuel his record attempt.

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londonplayer [620 posts] 4 years ago
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I could be missing something here BUT how exactly is he supposed to pedal in that position?

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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londonplayer wrote:

I could be missing something here BUT how exactly is he supposed to pedal in that position?

Think of a recumbent bike, Upside down apart from the wheels and you won't be far off I think  39

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OldRidgeback [2616 posts] 4 years ago
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Mat Brett wrote:
spindoctore wrote:

hes mad !

Maybe, but he's brilliant as well, isn't he? The world needs more people like this.

Mad or an eccentric genius? I'd tend towards the latter description. I think he's a star - not enough people like him in fact.

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boffo [34 posts] 4 years ago
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I so want this man to succeed.

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badbadleroybrown [17 posts] 4 years ago
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OldRidgeback wrote:

British ingenuity at its best, love the tartan touches.

Except he's Scottish.

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badbadleroybrown [17 posts] 4 years ago
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.

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road ronin [52 posts] 4 years ago
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he is as said in earlier post a little bit mad but also a real genius and i think he will succeed  4

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andrew streit1 [26 posts] 4 years ago
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You do realise Scotland is in Britain right?

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 4 years ago
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andrew streit1 wrote:

You do realise Scotland is in Britain right?

And was for a while known as 'North Britain.' Thankfully that didn't stick.

I can see why some people get confused though - isn't it The Guardian that each year during Wimbledon has a barometer graphic of how 'British' or 'Scottish' Andy Murray is, depending how he's doing?

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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In this year of all years, I'm making sure people know i'm Scottish (part of Britain for the moment)  3

Come 2014 we'll be able to show the world our stars, no matter if independence comes or not, It'll be Glasgow 2014 where Scotland will compete as Scotland  4

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Pierre [95 posts] 4 years ago
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boffo wrote:

I so want this man to succeed.

Amen to that. He's a brilliant, eccentric, genius as well as an incredible cyclist. This is what British (or, OK, Scottish) engineering does best, and he's a lovely example of it. Shine on, Graeme!